Album Reviews

Oceansize – Everyone Into Position

(Beggars Banquet) UK release date: 19 September 2005

Rarely has a more applicable name ever been adopted for a band. Oceansize are, as their name suggest, simply gigantic. Their first album Effloresce was an expansive exploration in all things rock, and with this, their second effort, nothing much has changed.

According to Oceansize vocalist Mike Vennart, Everyone into Position is a form of wake up call to the apathetic masses of this country. Unlike the confrontational style of bands like the Sex Pistols, Oceansize are not about to deliver a short sharp shock. Instead Oceansize are almost gentle in their approach, more often than not finding themselves at the point where post-rock finally succumbs to its meat headed cousin Metal.

The Charm Offensive kicks the album off, weighing in at over seven minutes, and sounding for all the world like Soundgarden at their most acid drenched. This is the ‘tea and biscuit’ approach to the wake up call; it’s about as far removed as you can get from a bucket of ice-cold water and a slap around the face.

Recent single Heaven Alive closely follows with a grinding bass riff and guitars that shimmer, all starry behind an almost apathetic vocal line from Vennart. However Oceansize are not the kind of band that like to settle for the simple approach, and the song builds in depth, new sounds slowly drift in and propel the listener towards a thoroughly gratifying chorus. That it takes longer to reach the chorus than most singles last in their entirety sums up the Oceansize mentality perfectly. Almost every song here has enough twists and turns and enough ideas to sustain most bands for at least five albums. Oceansize are all about grandeur and it is something that they do well, although every so often their pretensions get the better of them and the songs can sound flabby and unnecessarily complex. Sometimes you wish they would just get to the point.

The point, it would appear is only truly apparent after several listens. There are no real immediate kicks, instead Everyone into Position is an album has to be allowed to grow by the listener. Most of the tracks are so packed with ideas and sound that it is too much to take in straight away. Songs that might initially seem rambling and self-important (Music for a Nurse being one such example) reveal themselves to be beautiful sonic magic-eye paintings, which may also cause a sudden need to revisit My Bloody Valentine.

Oceansize save their greatest extravagance for the last three songs Mine Host, You Can’t Keep a Bad Man Down, and Ornament/Last Wrongs, which come together to form a Church Suite. You Can’t Keep a Bad Man Down in particular is a wonderfully overblown masterpiece. It heads for the clouds in a blast of space rock, changes pace on a whim, takes on an Elgarian Pomp, and disappears in a puff of smoke before reappearing in a final-song-of-the-night style thrash. As a demonstration of what Oceansize are all about this song is about as true a representation as you can expect. Everyone into Position is not a classic album, but it is big, it is clever, and it definitely demands your attention.

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More on Oceansize
Oceansize – Frames
Oceansize @ Islington Academy, London
Oceansize – Everyone Into Position
Interview: Oceansize
Oceansize – Effloresce